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Nonprofit gets $500K grant to help in restoration of historic home in Lehigh Valley

March 21st, 2024 |

A nonprofit organization that works to preserve original buildings and sites is getting a big financial boost that will help in its restoration of a historic home in the Lehigh Valley.

Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites, Inc. will receive a key $500,000 preservation grant award as part of the Save America’s Treasures grant program, funded by the Historic Preservation Fund, and administered by the National Park Service, Department of Interior, according to a news release from the firm Social T Marketing & PR.

The funding, which must be matched, will be used to help support the restoration of the 1782/1834 Grist Miller’s House, according to the news release. The Grist Miller’s House will become the Ralph G. Schwarz Center for Colonial Industries. 

“We are honored to have been chosen to receive this funding and appreciate the recognition and trust given to Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites by the National Park Service to preserve this iconic Bethlehem building and national treasure and thank Senator Bob Casey for his advocacy,” says LoriAnn Wukitsch, HBMS President & CEO.

Ralph Grayson Schwarz’ (1925-2018) vision spurred the development, planning, and preservation of modern Bethlehem by encouraging the community to embrace its remarkable history, according to the news release.

The public relations firm says he was a driving force behind the founding of Historic Bethlehem and the initial restoration efforts on many of the early Moravian settlers’ landmarks — including the Gemeinhaus, the Single Brethren’s House, the Sun Inn, and Burnside Plantation, as well as lands along the Monocacy Creek encompassing the Tannery and the Waterworks in the Colonial Industrial Quarter.

The 1782/1834 Grist Miller’s House is individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places and sits adjacent to the east of the Luckenbach Mill, a former grist mill on Old York Road, according to the news release.  

The public relations firm says the house was constructed in two distinct phases — the lower levels of the building date from 1782 and served as the original residence of the miller and his family, while the upper two levels were built c. 1834 and expanded the family’s living quarters.

The project aims to stabilize and restore the 140-plus-year-old building’s exterior and interior. 

In the mid-1700s Bethlehem had the largest concentration of pre-Industrial Revolution crafts and trades in the American colonies.

Read the article on the WFMZ website.

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